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Publication numberUS20060260039 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/412,541
Publication dateNov 23, 2006
Filing dateApr 27, 2006
Priority dateMay 23, 2005
Also published asDE602006005738D1, DE602006006498D1, EP1726283A1, EP1726283B1, EP1726284A1, EP1726284B1, US7818825, US20060260038
Publication number11412541, 412541, US 2006/0260039 A1, US 2006/260039 A1, US 20060260039 A1, US 20060260039A1, US 2006260039 A1, US 2006260039A1, US-A1-20060260039, US-A1-2006260039, US2006/0260039A1, US2006/260039A1, US20060260039 A1, US20060260039A1, US2006260039 A1, US2006260039A1
InventorsVincent Lau
Original AssigneeLau Vincent W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable spa
US 20060260039 A1
Abstract
A spa pool assembly has a pool having an enclosing wall and a base that together defines an interior. The base having a plurality of inflatable sections that are divided by at least one air passage. The spa pool assembly also has a plurality of jet nozzle assemblies, with each jet nozzle assembly removably coupled to the interior surface of the wall. A hose delivers air from outside the pool to the air passage. In addition, each jet nozzle assembly can be separate and independent from any of the other jet nozzle assemblies.
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Claims(15)
1. A portable spa pool assembly, comprising:
a pool having an enclosing wall and a base that together defines an interior, the base having a plurality of inflatable sections that are divided by at least one air passage, and the wall having an interior surface;
a plurality of jet nozzle assemblies, with each jet nozzle assembly removably coupled to the interior surface of the wall, each jet nozzle assembly having a jet nozzle; and
a hose that delivers air from outside the pool to the at least one air passage.
2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein each jet nozzle assembly is separate and independent from, and is not fluidly coupled to, any of the other jet nozzle assemblies.
3. The assembly of claim 1, further including:
a water circulation control unit positioned outside the pool, the control unit having a first tubing coupled to the control unit and extending through the enclosing wall into the interior of the pool, and a second tubing coupled to the control unit and extending through the enclosing wall into the interior of the pool.
4. The assembly of claim 2, further including a bubble control device coupled via a nozzle tubing to one of the jet nozzles for controlling the jet of bubbles ejected from the jet nozzle.
5. The assembly of claim 4, wherein the bubble control device includes a container and a cover adjustably fitted over the container to vary the amount of air retained in the container.
6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein the bubble control device further includes a cap adjustably coupled to the cover to control the flow of air through the cover into the nozzle tubing.
7. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the enclosing wall has at least one surrounding inflatable wall chamber.
8. The assembly of claim 1, further including a liner overlying the enclosing wall.
9. The assembly of claim 3, wherein the control unit and each jet nozzle assembly are provided in the form of separate modular units.
10. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the enclosing wall is inflatable.
11. The assembly of claim 3, wherein water from the interior of the pool is drawn through the first tubing into the control unit, and recirculated through the second tubing into the interior of the pool.
12. The assembly of claim 1, wherein each jet nozzle assembly has a housing which has a water inlet that draws water from the interior of the pool through the housing and then recirculated via the jet nozzle into the interior of the pool.
13. The assembly of claim 1, further including means for securing each jet nozzle to the enclosing wall.
14. The assembly of claim 3, wherein the control unit includes a plurality of switches, with each switch coupled to a separate jet nozzle assembly for separately controlling the separate jet nozzle assemblies.
15. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the enclosing wall defines a plurality of cavities, each cavity opening towards the interior, and wherein each jet nozzle assembly is removably positioned inside one of the plurality of cavities.
Description
RELATED CASES

This is a continuation-in-part of co-pending Ser. No. 11/136,280, filed May 23, 2005, whose entire disclosure is incorporated by this reference as though set forth fully herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to portable pools, and in particular, to a portable spa pool that can be conveniently moved from one location to another, and which can be conveniently and quickly installed and disassembled.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Spa pools have become increasingly popular as people have come to recognize and enjoy the relaxing and healthy benefits accorded by a good invigorating soak in a spa pool or tub. Most conventional spa pools are provided in the form of a spa tub in a bathroom or a health club, or in the form of an outdoor spa. Each of these spa pools has a jet nozzle system having a plurality of nozzles that must be powered by a pump and its associated plumbing (e.g., tubing that connects the nozzles). Some spa pools are also provided with a heater that works in conjunction with the pump to heat the water that is re-circulated in the spa pool.

Unfortunately, in order to move a conventional spa pool to a different location, the entire spa pool and its accompanying jet nozzle system, pump, plumbing and heater must be completely dis-assembled and moved. Such dis-assembly can be quite complex, and often requires the expertise of a plumber. Even if a normal user is able to accomplish the dis-assembly on his or her own, such dis-assembly is very time-consuming and difficult, and any subsequent re-assembly will be equally time-consuming and challenging. In other words, conventional spa pools tend to stay fixed in their original locations, and are unlikely to be moved to a different location.

Such lack of portability is a significant drawback, since nowadays people are more mobile and often enjoy travelling and moving about. It would be desirable if they could also enjoy the luxury and benefit of the spa pool at different locales while not experiencing the inconveniences and difficulties associated with having to assemble and dis-assemble a conventional spa pool. This would encourage and promote increased use of spa pools.

To meet this demand, attempts have been made to provide portable spa pools that can be easily assembled and disassembled. Unfortunately, the plumbing systems for these portable spa pools can still be rather complex. For example, the nozzles need to be fluidly connected to each other (and to a pump) by tubing so that water can be circulated through these nozzles during use. Unfortunately, connecting a plurality of nozzles together can be a rather complicated task, and if not done correctly, can result in leaks and possible malfunction of the plumbing system.

Thus, there remains a need for a portable spa pool that overcomes the problems associated with the conventional spa pools, which can be installed and disassembled for storage in a quick and convenient manner, and which can be packed and moved about conveniently.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

It is an objective of the present invention to provide a portable spa pool which can be installed and dis-assembled for storage in a quick and convenient manner, and which can be packed and moved about conveniently.

It is another objective of the present invention to provide a portable spa pool that has a simple construction that minimizes potential leakage.

It is yet another objective of the present invention to provide a portable spa pool having separate modular jet nozzle assemblies, with each jet nozzle capable of being controlled separately from the others.

The objectives of the present invention are accomplished by providing a spa pool assembly having a pool having an enclosing wall and a base that together defines an interior. The base having a plurality of inflatable sections that are divided by at least one air passage. The spa pool assembly also has a plurality of jet nozzle assemblies, with each jet nozzle assembly removably coupled to the interior surface of the wall. A hose delivers air from outside the pool to the air passage. In addition, each jet nozzle assembly can be separate and independent from any of the other jet nozzle assemblies.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable spa pool according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the spa pool of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view of a portion of the spa pool of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side plan view of the bubble control device that is used for the spa pool of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an exploded cross-sectional view of the bubble control device that is used for the spa pool of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view illustrating a jet nozzle assembly and control unit according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates the spa pool of FIG. 1 shown in use with the jet nozzle assembly and control unit of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the spa pool of FIG. 1 shown in use with the jet nozzle assembly and control unit of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of a portable spa pool according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a modified pool of the portable spa pool of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the portable spa pool of FIG. 9.

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the pool of FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is a top perspective view of the portable spa pool of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating general principles of embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims. In certain instances, detailed descriptions of well-known devices and mechanisms are omitted so as to not obscure the description of the present invention with unnecessary detail.

The present invention provides a spa pool that can be easily and quickly assembled and dis-assembled without the need for any special tools. The spa pool of the present invention provides separate jet nozzle assemblies so that each jet nozzle assembly can be quickly and easily installed by the user. In addition, providing separate jet nozzle assemblies allows the user to control each of them separately, so that the user can customize and vary the jet sprays emitted from these separate jet nozzles. The spa pool of the present invention also provides a simple water circulation system that is easy to install and which minimizes potential leak points. Other benefits and features will be described in connection with the spa pool hereinbelow.

Referring to FIGS. 1-5B, the present invention provides a portable spa pool assembly 20 that has a pool 22, a liner 24, a plurality of jet nozzle assemblies 26 and a water circulation control unit 28. The pool 22, the jet nozzle assembly 26 and the control unit 28 are each separate from each other and can be modular units that are replaceable or changeable without the need to replace or change the other units.

The pool 22 has an enclosing side wall 30 that defines the interior 32 of the pool 22. The side wall 30 can be provided in three separate sections, a first or lower surrounding inflatable air chamber 34, a second or intermediate surrounding inflatable air chamber 36, and a third or upper surrounding inflatable air chamber 38. In addition, a bottom wall 46 can be connected to the lower air chamber 34. The air chambers 34, 36 and 38 are inflatable to define the shape of the pool 22 when fully inflated, and can be made from a material that is water-impervious and which is capable of tolerating heat and cold. Non-limiting examples of the material can include PVC, rubber, nylon, PU lamination, and polyethylene. The material also acts as a water-containing layer of material that protects against water leakage, and to protect the pool 22 itself from puncture or other damage. In one embdiment of the present invention, the air chambers 34, 36 and 38 are made of a heat and chlorine resistant polyvinylchloride (PVC) material. In one embodiment, the pool 22 can be manufactured by heat sealing the three chambers 34, 36, 38 and the bottom wall 46. The air chambers 34, 36, 38 have valves 40, 42, 44, respectively, through which air can be introduced to inflate the chambers 34, 36, 38. The bottom wall 46 can be inflatable and made from the same material as the chambers 34, 36, 38, or can be merely a sheet of material that is water-impervious and which is capable of tolerating heat and cold.

Alternatively, the pool 22 need not be inflatable. For example, it is also possible to provide the pool 22, its side wall 30 and its bottom wall 46 in a solid piece of foam or other solid material that is molded to the configuration shown in FIGS. 1-2.

Each jet nozzle assembly 26 has a housing 50 that contains the plumbing system (e.g., a motor and a pump), and which is a separate housing that can be removably coupled to the side wall 30 of the pool 22. A jet nozzle 52 is provided on the housing 50, with a tubing 54 connecting the nozzle 52 to a bubble control device 56. Each jet nozzle 52 can be any conventional jet nozzle that is currently available and used for conventional spa pools. For example, two types of jet nozzles 52 can be used, a water flow adjustable nozzle and a non-adjustable nozzle. The jet nozzles 52 can also be one-directional, or multi-directional that are adjustable by the user to massage different areas of the user's back. An electrical wiring 58 extends from the housing 50 to an electrical power plug 60, so that power can be delivered from an external power source (e.g., a power socket in the wall) via the plug 60 and the wiring 58 to power a motor (not shown) inside the housing 50. A water inlet 62 is provided in the housing 50 to allow water from the interior of the pool 22 to be delivered into the housing 50 by a pump (not shown) housed in the housing 50, which subsequently delivers the water to the nozzle 52 to be ejected by the nozzle 52. Even though the motor and the pump of the jet nozzle assembly 26 are not shown, they can be constructed according to motors and pumps that are well-known in the spa art for pumping water to be ejected through a nozzle.

The water circulation control unit 28 can include a filter pump (not shown) and a heater (not shown) that are housed inside a housing 70. The filter pump and heater are all well-known in the art, and the assembly of a filter pump and a heater together into a modular component has already been done for conventional spa systems, and one non-limiting example is the PS-1 System marketed by Spa Builders System Group. The heater can be automatically activated by a water pressure sensor (built into the heater) which turns on the heater when water begins to travel through it. The heater can also be provided with an automatic maximum temperature cut-off if the water reaches a pre-selected maximum temperature (e.g., 104 degrees Fahrenheit). The heater is optional and can be omitted.

A water intake tubing 72 extends from the housing 70 and is adapted to deliver water from the interior of the pool 22 to the control unit 28. A water outlet tubing 74 extends from the housing 70 and is adapted to deliver water from the control unit 28 back to the interior of the pool 22. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the tubings 72 and 74 extend through openings 76 and 78 respectively, in the liner 24, and through ports 80 and 82, respectively, in the side wall 30 (e.g., in the air chamber 34). An electrical wiring 84 extends from the housing 70 to an electrical plug 86, so that power can be delivered from an external power source (e.g., a power socket in the wall) via the plug 86 and the wiring 84 to power a motor (not shown) inside the housing 70.

The control unit 28 functions to draw water (using the filter pump) via the intake tubing 72 into the housing 70 where the water is filtered by the filter pump and heated by the heater. The processed water is then returned to the interior of the pool 22 via the outlet tubing 74. Thus, the water inside the pool 22 can be constantly recirculated and processed to keep it clean and heated to the desired temperature.

Each tubing 54, 72, 74 can be made from the same material, such as PVC, and can have weaved nylon reinforcements laminated into the hose itself. The tubings 54, 72, 74 should preferably be able to withstand high water pressure and heat.

The bubble control device 56 is illustrated in greater detail in FIGS. 4 and 5. The bubble control device 56 includes a rounded container 94 and a generally U-shaped cover 96 that is adapted to be fitted inside the container 94. A plurality of internal threads 98 are provided on the inner wall of the container 94, and are adapted to threadably engage a plurality of external threads 100 that are provided on the outer wall of the cover 96. The tubing 54 is connected to an opening 102 provided at the center of the bottom of the container 94. A central tube 104 extends upwardly into the interior of the cover 96 from the center of the bottom of the cover 96, and has a bore 106 that communicates the interior of the cover 96 with the interior of the container 94. In addition, the bore 106 is aligned with the opening 102. A cap 108 is adjustably coupled to the tube 104 to control the amount of air that is allowed to flow from the environment to the nozzle 52. Specifically, the cap 108 has internal threads 110 that are adapted to threadably engage external threads 114 provided on the tube 104. In addition, one or more air openings 116 are provided in the wall of the cap 108, so that air from the environment can flow through the openings 116 into the bore 106, and then through the opening 102 and the tubing 54 to the nozzle 52. Thus, turning the cap 108 with respect to the tube 104 will cause the cap 108 to travel along the threads 110, 114 to go up or down along the tube 104. Depending on the extent to which the cap 108 is turned, some of the openings 116 will be opened or closed, thereby varying the amount of air that can flow from the environment to the nozzle 52.

To assemble the spa pool assembly 20, the pool 22 is inflated by partially inflating the air chambers 34, 36, 38. Each jet nozzle assembly 26 is then installed in the following manner. The housing 50 for each jet nozzle assembly 26 is inserted into a cavity 88 that is provided in the side wall 30 (e.g., the air chamber 36), and which opens into the interior of the pool 22. The wiring 58 for each jet nozzle assembly 26 is extended through an opening 90 in the side wall 30 to the exterior of the pool 22, and the plug 60 is plugged into a power socket. In addition, the tubing 54 of the bubble control device 56 is extended through the interior of the side wall 30 to an opening 92 provided in the top of the side wall 30 (e.g., at the top of the air chamber 38). The container 94 is then positioned in the opening 92, and the tubing 54 is coupled to the opening 102. The cover 96 and its cap 108 are then secured over the container 94. The jet nozzle assemblies 26 are now ready for use. The cap 108 for each bubble control device 56 can be adjusted to adjust the jet spray for each corresponding nozzle 52.

Next, the user completes the inflation of the air chambers 34, 36, 38, and then uses the liner 24 to completely cover the pool 22. The liner 24 can completely cover all the surfaces of the pool 22, including the interior and the exterior surfaces of the pool 22. The liner 24 can be provided with a zipper, buttons, or other similar mechanism (not shown) to zip up the liner 24 when the liner 24 has completely surrounded the pool 22. The liner 24 can be provided with openings 88 a, 40 a, 42 a, 44 a that are aligned with (and correspond with) the cavities 88 and the valves 40, 42, 44, respectively, in the pool 22.

The user then installs the control unit 28 by extending the tubings 72 and 74 through the openings 76 and 78 respectively, in the liner 24, and through the ports 80 and 82, respectively. The tubings 72 and 74 are then connected to the housing 70, and the plug 86 is plugged into a power socket. The control unit 28 is now ready for use.

Optionally, pillow bladders (not shown) can be inflated and inserted into pillow chambers 120 provided at the top of the liner 24. These pillow bladders 120 function as head pillows for the occupants of the spa pool assembly 20.

Water can be filled into the interior of the pool 22 to the required water level (preferably above the level of the nozzles 52), and the pumps in the jet nozzle 30 assemblies 26 and the control unit 28 primed by drawing water from the pool 22 into the respective pumps. Once the pumps have been primed, the pump is ready to begin recirculating water. The spa pool assembly 20 is now ready for use.

Thus, as described above, the spa pool assembly 20 can be assembled very quickly and conveniently. No tubing is needed to connect the nozzles 52, since each jet nozzle assembly 26 operates as a stand-alone unit that is separate from the other jet nozzle units 26. As a result, the construction and assembly of the spa pool assembly 20 is greatly simplified.

During use, the user can adjust each jet nozzle 52 separately by controlling the bubble control device 56. In particular, the user can adjust the cap 108 on the cover 96 in the manner described above to control the amount of bubbles being ejected by the corresponding nozzle 52. Since the cap 108 essentially controls the amount of air present inside the container 94, adjusting the cap 108 to decrease the space inside the container 94 will result in a weaker jet of bubbles being ejected by the corresponding nozzle 52 (because there is less air), and adjusting the cap 108 to increase the space inside the container 94 will result in a stronger jet of bubbles being ejected by the corresponding nozzle 52 (because there is more air). Thus, the user can vary the strength of each different nozzle 52 by adjusting each separate bubble control device 56.

In addition, the use of a single water intake tubing 72 and a single water outlet tubing 74 minimizes the number of openings in the pool 22, thereby reducing the likelihood of leakage and other defects.

To dis-assemble the spa pool assembly 20, the user turns off the respective motors, and disconnects all the components by reversing the steps described above. The jet nozzle assemblies 26 are then separately removed from the pool 22. The air chambers 34, 36, 38 are then deflated and all the components can be packed for storage or transportation. A carrying case (not shown) can be provided for storing the different components: the jet nozzle assemblies 26, the control unit 28, the tubings 72, 74, the bubble control devices 56, the pool 22, and the liner 24.

The modularity of the different units 22, 24, 26, 28, 56, 72, 74 also provides several important benefits. First, the modularity allows for convenient replacement of defective units without the need to replace non-defective units. Second, the modularity increases the convenience of assembly, dis-assembly, servicing and maintenance of the spa pool assembly 20. Third, the assembly and disassembly of the spa pool assembly 20 does not require the use of special tools, thereby allowing the spa pool assembly 20 to be conveniently moved about for use in many different locations.

FIGS. 6-8 illustrate some modifications that can be made to the jet nozzle assemblies 26 and the control unit 28 described above. First, each jet nozzle assembly 26 a can be the same as the jet nozzle assembly 26 described above, except that each nozzle 52 a can be provided in a tubular configuration with external threads 122 that are adapted to receive a threaded nut 124. Thus, each tubular nozzle 52 a can extend through an opening 88 a in the liner 24, and the nut 124 can be threadably secured to the nozzle 52 a from inside the spa pool 20, so as to secure the nozzle 52 a to the location of the opening 88 a.

Second, the control unit 28 a can be the same as the control unit 28 described above, except that individual control switches 130 can also be provided to allow the user to separately control the individual jet nozzle assemblies 26 a. In addition, power receptacles 132 are provided in the housing 70 a, each adapted to receive a power plug 60 of a separate jet nozzle assembly 26 a. Thus, by turning on selected switches 130 and turning off selected switches 130, the user can control which jet nozzle assemblies 26 a are turned on or off, while also being able to adjust the strength of the jet of water at each nozzle 52 a via the corresponding bubble control device 56.

As a further alternative, as best shown in FIG. 7, an ozonator 140 can be coupled to the tubing 74 via a separate line 142. The ozonator 140 functions to generate ozone to sanitize the spa pool 20.

FIGS. 9-13 illustrate another embodiment of the present invention. The spa pool 20 b in FIGS. 9-13 can be the same as the spa pool 20 in FIGS. 1-5 except for the differences noted below, so the same numeral designations will be used to designate the same elements in FIGS. 1-5 and FIGS. 9-13, except that a “b” or a “c” is added to the corresponding elements in FIGS. 9-13.

The pool 22 b is provided with a multi-sectional base or bottom wall 46 b that has a plurality of different sections 200 that are divided by passages 202. In the embodiment of FIGS. 9-13, there are four sections 200 that are divided by two perpendicular passages 202 that intersect each other. In addition, there is a circumferential passage 204 that extends around the edge of the base 46 b and separates the sections 202 from the bottom chamber 34 b. The passages 202 and 204 communicate with each other, and are essentially embodied in the form of grooves that are formed between the chamber 34 b and the sections 200. Each section 200 can be inflated separately via valves 208, which can be single or multi-valves.

As shown in FIG. 11, an air hose 206 has a first end that is connected to an air bubble generator 210 at the exterior of the pool 22 b and extends via a manifold 212 (see FIG. 13) in the liner 24 b into the pool 22 b to its second end which fluidly communicates with the passage 204. The liner 24 b has a meshed material 220 in its base 216 that is aligned with the passage 204, and the liner 24 b further includes holes 205 that are aligned with the passages 202. Air is introduced via the air hose 206 to the passages 202 and 204, circulates through the passages 202, 204, and then exits through the meshed material 220 and the holes 205 provided on the base 216 to the interior of the pool 22 b.

The passages 202 and 204 allow for circulated air to be propelled from additional sources towards the people sitting in the pool 22 b. In particular, the air bubbles from the passages 202, 204 provide a massage function from the bottom.

In addition, the pool 22 b includes a drain port 222 that is aligned with the drain opening 224 in the liner 24 b. Water from the interior of the pool 22 b can be drained via the drain port 222 and the drain opening 224. A cover 25 can be placed over the top of the pool 22 b and the liner 24 b.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true scope and spirit of the present invention. For example, each jet nozzle assembly 26 and the control unit 28 can be powered by batteries, so that the wirings 58 and 84 can be omitted.

Classifications
U.S. Classification4/541.1
International ClassificationA47K3/10, A47K3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61H2201/0103, A61H2201/0157, A61H33/0087, A61H33/025, A61H33/02, A61H2033/022, A61H33/6063
European ClassificationA61H33/60E4W, A61H33/00N, A61H33/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 27, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: IDEAL TIME CONSULTANTS LIMITED, HONG KONG
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LAU, VINCENT W.S.;REEL/FRAME:017816/0870
Effective date: 20060421
Mar 20, 2014FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4